ADELITA

A MEXICAN CINDERELLA STORY

Placing this Cinderella variation in upper-class Mexico in the last century, dePaola (A New Barker in the House, p. 409, etc.) has framed the story in a more realistic vein than usual. There are no magical elements, yet the prolific author-illustrator weaves together a very satisfying tale of the beautiful and good Adelita and her sweet young man, Javier, a childhood friend. The fairy godmother is a faithful servant who has always worked for the Mercado family. The dress belonged to Adelita’s mother and instead of the glass slipper, Adelita uses her beautiful rebozo, a shawl covered in birds and flowers, to lead her rich young gentleman back to her after she leaves the fiesta early. The human relationships remain the same: the evil stepmother and the selfish stepsisters are depicted here in the usual way, yet kindly Adelita invites them all to her wedding at the end. Esperanza, the servant who quietly manages to bring an end to Adelita’s sufferings, brings a cart to take her to the hacienda, not a coach made out of a pumpkin. Spanish phrases and their translations are used throughout the text and a list providing pronunciations is given at the end. The acrylic paintings are handsome and dignified, with borders of Mexican tile and many archways giving a graceful unity to dePaola’s signature characters. The rich colors change in tone as sad times, mourning, and great happiness are all depicted in different double-page spreads. The endpapers explode with the lively pattern of the all-important rebozo. Decorative objects, including religious items, pottery, Mexican crafts, and kitchenware give the illustrations an authentic touch. Heartwarming, but not sappy, this version will lead young writers off in many directions as they write their own Cinderella tales in locations of their own choosing. An enjoyable read-aloud, this is a fine addition to the author’s growing collection of stories set in Mexico. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-399-23866-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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